Friday, February 24, 2012

Movies for the Seated Superhero, Part Deux

As loyal readers of this blog may recall, a couple of months ago a friend and I had a movie night with the theme of movies based on comic books/graphic novels. To refresh your memory, below is the list we came up with originally (with one addition). Note that this is by no means an inclusive list of all the movies made based on comic books, just some of the ones we were more interested in seeing.

Well, we re-visited the comic book movie night idea recently, so I’ve bolded the movies we watched this time around and I’ll discuss those below. While I usually try to avoid spoilers on this blog, in this particular post I will not be doing so as I have things to discuss that involve giving away lots of details about these movies. So if you like to go into your movies with little expectations, you are duly forewarned. (However, you can still read the “basic plot” paragraphs without getting any spoilers.) Also note that while I obsessively-compulsively alphabetized the list as I tend to do, I will discuss the movies in the order that we watched them rather than alphabetically.

Batman (1989)

Batman Begins

Batman Returns

Captain America: The First Avenger

Dick Tracy

The Dark Knight


The Incredibles*^

Iron Man 1 & 2




Scott Pilgrim vs. the World*

Sin City*

Sky High^

The Spirit

Superman Returns

Tales of the Black Freighter

Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles

V for Vendetta




X-Men: First Class*

^These ones are not actually based on comic books, but they are action/adventure/sci-fi/superheroes so we felt we could add them to the list.

*These ones were movies we watched in the first batch and were discussed previously on this blog here.

Iron Man

Basic plot: Wealthy Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), owner of the weapons-manufacturing Stark Industries, is your stereotypical playboy until a visit to Afghanistan to see his products in action goes haywire. Stark ends up captured by a shadowy terrorist group known as the Ten Rings who hold him hostage in a cave for months, demanding that he re-create for them a missile originally developed for the U.S. armed forces. Instead, Stark uses the equipment and materials they supply to build a super suit that will act both as armor and weapon – as well as Stark’s only hope of survival. Once he escapes and returns home, Stark decides to make a new and improved suit. Meanwhile, trouble is brewing both domestically and abroad that may call for Stark’s new-found philanthropy and vigilantism.

I have to admit I wasn’t too keen on this movie when it first came out. It’s not that it looked particularly unappealing; it’s just that it didn’t look particularly appealing. But then it got both critical acclaim (it was even nominated for two Oscars) and audience raves (including amongst my family members, most especially from my dad and my brother-in-law). But after finally watching it myself, I still came away with the feeling that it wasn’t particularly appealing nor unappealing. There was nothing specifically off-putting about the movie, but there wasn’t anything that makes it very memorable to my mind.

Overall, it seemed that the Iron Man story relies on a lot of common comic book and movie tropes. For instance, there’s the wealthy guy turned vigilante angle (not only has this been done before, but it’s been done so much that actually created a list of the 20 richest comic book characters); the token African-American character (I honestly didn’t see much of reason to have the character of Rhodey in the movie other than the desperate attempt to fill a racial diversity quota, although I have a feeling based on the Iron Man comic storylines that his character becomes more developed in the later movies); the token “girl Friday” character in the ridiculously named Pepper Potts (again, it felt like a desperate attempt to fill a gender diversity quota as character development was lacking here also. And seriously, after years of Tony barely remembering Pepper’s existence and Pepper having to deal with Tony’s one-night stands, we’re suddenly supposed to believe that these two have a thing for each other based on one dance at a party?); and so forth. It’s almost as though someone just pulled out all the elements of successful comic books and action movies, threw them together haphazardly, and then hoped for the best. According to IMDb, the movie’s script was not entirely written when filming started and the actors often had to ad-lib lines. This perhaps contributed to the overall feeling that the movie is half-baked and the characters are not fully developed, despite some fine actors enlisted for the movie’s main roles, including Downey and Gwyneth Paltrow both of whom I’ve admired in past roles. Again, it’s not that there’s anything particularly bad about the movie, it’s just that somehow it all didn’t come together and settle just right to make a compelling watch.

The beginning of the movie did seem to drag a bit for me, with the long focus on Tony Stark’s capture, building of the original armored suit, working on improving the suit, and finally testing the changes made. It seemed like a lot of build up before the story really got going (and then it was fairly predictable). However, I could see how engineers like my dad and my brother-in-law would really enjoy this movie because of all those details. In the end, my friend summed up it best with a shrug and the comment, “It’s an origins movie.”

Sky High

Basic plot: Will Stronghold is about to start his first year of high school, but not just any high school – he’s attending Sky High, the school for teens with superpowers. As the son of two renown superheroes known as Commander (Kurt Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston), who also double as successful realtors as their cover, Will is expected to be amazing but he has yet to exhibit any superpowers. On the first day of school, Will is drafted as a sidekick rather than a hero, and he fluctuates between worrying that he is just a late bloomer and that he’ll never have any superpowers. As Will and his fellow sidekicks learn about hero support, trouble begins brewing and it’s more than just bullies, puppy love, and the brooding outsider who seems to have it out for Will.

This Disney movie is a cheesy production aimed for families with tweens, but it’s surprisingly good compared to the tons of other dross that Disney puts out for this age group. (I am a huge fan of Disney’s animated feature films, but the vast majority of their live-action movies are just terrible.) Yes, the movie is certainly corny, particularly the ridiculous villains who seemed to be pulled straight from Power Rangers. (Seriously, have you seen some of the villains from Power Rangers? It’s mind-boggling how a show this bad could be popular for so long.) But the movie is also a great spoof on common comic book/superhero elements. For instance, there’s a scene early on when Will’s friend Layla comes over and calls Will’s father “Commander” in reference to his glasses-less face. He remembers his slip and puts his glasses back on to complete his realtor disguise. It’s of course a pass at how ridiculous it is that in so many comic books, the other characters can’t figure out that the alter egos are actually the superheroes (a.k.a., Clark Kent puts on his glasses and no one can tell he’s really Superman!).

Furthermore, the movie has some really good lessons in it without being overly didactic or moralistic. There’s the overarching message about everyone having a role to play given their talents, even if they usually feel more like sidekicks than heroes. There’s also more typical high school dramas and challenges, such as trying to find a place where you fit in, realizing the value of old friends, and doing what’s right even when it’s not necessarily what’s popular. Will sums up both the superhero storyline and the underlying themes succinctly by saying: “In the end, my girlfriend became my arch enemy, my arch enemy became my best friend, and my best friend became my girlfriend. But, hey, it's high school.”

The Dark Knight

Basic plot: Picking up where Batman Begins left off, Gotham City seems to be cleaning its criminals off the streets thanks in large part to the efforts of millionaire Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and his vigilante efforts as the Batman. Criminal convictions are further solidified by the police work of Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman) and the law work of Wayne’s long-time love Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and her new boyfriend Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Just as the mob and other criminal syndicates are despairing about their future endeavors, a new criminal known only as the Joker (Heath Ledger) arrives on the scene, provoking the others to kill the Batman if they want their troubles to end and also inciting anarchy in general.

I originally saw this movie the weekend it came out, and it was an interesting experience as I was on a beach vacation at the time. Every night we went out on the boardwalk and saw ads that they were going to be showing the movie out on the beach the night it was released. We had all seen the first movie (of the Nolan’s Batman movies, that is) and were excited for the second one. Furthermore, we thought seeing a movie out near the ocean would be fun. But when the night finally came around and we saw the movie, we realized that a movie projected onto a screen on the beach was a better idea in concept than in practice. At first, it was so hard to hear the dialogue over the crashing of the waves. Then those in charge finally figured to increase the volume but by then a fog had rolled in and any brightly lit parts of the film were so intensely bright that it was hard to see. So, all in all, I thought it was a good movie but worth re-seeing as I was obviously missing parts here and there, either audibly or visually. But then – I started having nightmares about the Joker. No exaggeration, these were some crazy hardcore nightmares. I would wake up in the middle of the night in panic and need to look around to assure myself that the Joker wasn’t anywhere near. This was all very odd because I actually found the Scarecrow in the first movie far more terrifying than the Joker while actually watching the movie.

Since we first decided to do a comic book themed movie night, my friend has been saying we really needed to include The Dark Knight to our pile of movies to watch while I was resisting for fear of Joker-induced nightmares again. Finally, I relented and was able to catch some of the finer points I missed out on the first time. And, so far so good - no nightmares about the Joker this time around. Fingers crossed!

In the end, it was also good to re-watch the movie as the newest (and last) movie in the trilogy is scheduled for release in July 2012. While I remembered most of the basic plot of The Dark Knight, I did not remember the crucial detail of the ending being that the Batman was taking the blame and willing to be the one hated so that Gotham City would have the “white knight” hero image in Harvey Dent preserved. Apparently the new movie will pick up eight years after the events of The Dark Knight.

Speaking of the upcoming movie, The Dark Knight Rises, I stumbled upon an article recently that noted Selina Kyle’s comments in the trailer sounded like a 99% person speaking to a 1% person and went on to speculate if the movie was a commentary to some degree on the Occupy Wall Street movement. I can’t find the exact article anymore that I read, but here is another that touches upon the idea and another that talks about Nolan’s aborted plan to include OWS protestors in the film itself. I bring this up in reference to this post because in the original article I read, someone pointed out in the comments section that The Dark Knight also had a social-political commentary about the PATRIOT Act. Once I read that, I recalled immediately the scene in which Bruce Wayne enables Lucius Fox’s cell phone-sonar technology on the entire city and Lucius worries that Wayne has crossed a line.

Wayne: Beautiful, isn't it?
Fox: Beautiful... unethical... dangerous. You've turned every cellphone in Gotham into a microphone.
Wayne: And a high-frequency generator-receiver.
Fox: You took my sonar concept and applied it to every phone in the city. With half the city feeding you sonar, you can image all of Gotham. This is *wrong*.
Wayne: I've gotta find this man, Lucius.
Fox: At what cost?
Wayne: The database is null-key encrypted. It can only be accessed by one person.
Fox: This is too much power for one person.
Wayne: That's why I gave it to you. Only you can use it.
Fox: Spying on 30 million people isn't part of my job description.

In the end, everything works out with Wayne refusing to use this spying technology again, but the negative implications seem to be clear. (Of course, I say “seem to be” because some apparently saw the movie as towing the Bush administration line.) Watching the movie a second time, I picked up more on how the Joker is often referred to by Gordon and the Batman as a terrorist, so it’s not just the one scene with the cell phone that makes the point, even if it is all somewhat understated.

There are also more heavy-handed commentaries on human nature that arise as a result of the Joker’s actions. There’s certainly negatives seen, as in the mass panic the Joker creates with his threats to blow up hospitals and murder people daily unless his ever-changing demands are met. But there are also positives, such as when the ferry hostages come through and refuse to sink to the Joker’s level when given the false choice to become killers or be killed, despite the Joker’s assertion that “You see, their morals, their code, it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these... these civilized people, they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve.”

As I’ve already indicated by quoting from the movie twice, there are some great lines in this movie. There’s both the deep (“The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.” - Harvey Dent) and the funny (Let me get this straight. You think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands; and your plan, is to *blackmail* this person? Good luck.” – Lucius Fox). And of course, there’s the fabulous last lines from Gordon: “Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So, we'll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Dark Knight.” Cue dramatic music here.

Now that I’ve praised the movie, I’d like to point out the couple of issues I had with it. For starters, I found it ridiculous the first time and I still find it ridiculous for there to be such a long scene of the Batman taking out the Joker’s henchman while concurrently fighting off the SWAT team because they haven’t yet realized that the hostages are forced to dress like the clowns and hold guns. Seriously, if Batman was hooked into Lucius at the point, why not just have Lucius radio the intel into Gordon and thus also the SWAT team?? That seems far more productive than everyone getting hurt for no reason. But I guess the creators didn’t want to skimp on the action scenes for that segment of the audience who wants a good fight scene. My second contention was that the rise and fall of Harvey Dent felt rushed. My friend noted it was a “waste of a villain” in Two Face because of how he appears and then disappears again so quickly. Unfortunately, you get the feeling that the creators planned to bring the Joker back for the next movie but that’s obviously no longer probable as no one will want to try to replace Heath Ledger.

Speaking of the cast, there is excellent acting all around, although obviously most especially from Heath Ledger in his last* and legendary role, proving without a doubt that movie viewers were interested in more than just his pretty face. I was glad to see Katie Holmes replaced with Maggie Gyllenhaal. Even though I wouldn’t say this was a fabulous performance from Maggie Gyllenhaal given her other work, it was still a vast improvement from Katie Holmes. (I have to note that even the second time around, I’m surprised by the bold move to kill off Rachel. I recall how the first time, I was convinced it was another ploy like Gordon’s earlier “death” and we would see her re-appear but no.)

While The Dark Knight was nominated for and won plenty of awards, the fact that the Academy didn’t even nominate this movie for best picture is a signal of how the establishment still considers comic book movies to be a film genre like horror or chick flicks that isn’t worthy of critical notice.

* That is if you only count fully completed movies. Ledger was working on The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the time of his death. Luckily, given the weird nature of that movie, his role was able to be completed by Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell. And while some said that it was obvious where the movie was tweaked to make this work, I thought it flowed perfectly as though it had been intended to go that way all along. And, although I found that movie odd, I enjoyed it much more than any other Terry Gilliam film.


Basic plot: In an alternate reality 1985, costumed vigilantes have been specifically banned by Congress from fighting crime but that hasn’t helped decrease the terror that people feel as the world powers inch toward nuclear war and total annihilation. Meanwhile, a former costumed hero is murdered, setting off a chain of unalterable events involving the remaining band of past vigilantes.

To start off any conversation about the film version of Watchmen, I have to be fair and note that I absolutely love love love the book Watchmen. And I have to admit that I had been resisting this movie because I knew it would never live up to the book and how wonderful it is. In the end, I have to say that, yes, the movie will never be as great as the book, but it was still pretty good. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised because I was expecting to dislike it, but it was a fairly decent adaptation and I think it was a little extreme for Alan Moore to so completely wash his hands of the movie. (The credits state only that Watchmen was co-created and illustrated by Dave Gibbons without mention of who the other co-creator was, because Alan Moore really hates derivatives of his work that much).

To get into the specifics, I liked the beginning credits with the montage of rapid scenes showing this alternate reality and the super-brief history of both the Minutemen and the following Watchmen. However, as much as I enjoyed this, I couldn’t help thinking that this – along with a few other parts – would be extremely confusing to anyone who hadn’t read the book. And while a large part of the audience for Watchmen was most likely those who had already read the book, any movie based on a book will also have non-readers in the audience as well and it doesn’t serve anyone to alienate viewers. One notable instance of this was the 2005 film version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. After the 1995 BBC miniseries, the director was probably right to not try and do another very faithful adaptation as that was already done. But when he chose to make the move very arty, he also sacrificed some of the story. I remember watching this movie with a friend who had never read the book or seen the previous film versions, and she was constantly getting confused as to what was going on. Of course, the 18th century social rules and manners probably didn’t help. (It’s always funny to 21st century viewers to see the Bennet sisters in shock and fear that that their bumptious cousin Mr. Collins talks to Mr. Darcy without having first been formally introduced. Oh, the horror!). But from her confusion, I realized that I only knew what was going on because I knew the story of Pride and Prejudice backwards and forwards.

But I diverge, back to Watchmen. Another one of these moments of potential confusion was near the end when we see the newspaper man and the boy who reads the Tales of the Black Freighter comics amongst those about to die in NYC, but the viewer would only recognize these characters if they had read the book as the whole pirates comic parallel story is passed over here. This is not without good reason since the movie is already two and a half hours long and it would never all fit, but that parallel story was one of the things that made the book so amazing. (The director did, however, also make Tales of the Black Freighter as a separate animated movie, although I still haven’t seen this one.) I suppose these characters showing up, however, is more of an Easter egg for loyal Watchmen fans than a moment of confusion for the non-reader.

Among the others things I liked were the musical choices, with lots of good period pieces depending on the scene and the timeframe it was depicting. Speaking of which, the film did a pretty decent job with all the flashbacks. Flashback scenes can be messy and in a movie like this where there’s so much switching back and forth between the present and the past, there’s potential for the viewer to become easily confused. I don’t think that was the case here, although again I already knew what to expect in this regard. Another thing I liked that was even the graffiti seen on the walls of buildings in the book was to some extent included in the movie. Some of the other imagery from the book is also left intact, particularly the iconic smiley face with the drop of blood on it and, to a lesser degree than in the book, the doomsday clock. It really is the little details sometimes.

There was also some really great acting involved in Watchmen. Jackie Earle Haley was good as Rorschach, especially considering that this actor has the tricky task of spending most the movie behind a full face mask and still has to connect with the audience and display emotion somehow. Billy Crudup had similar difficulties because Dr. Manhattan shows little emotion, but he did a good job expressing what he could as the character and he was particularly phenomenal in the flashback scenes before he was turned into a giant blue being with superhuman powers. In fact, I was surprised to find I really liked Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan because I had seen him interviewed on Jon Stewart when the movie was first released and I didn’t get a good feeling from him at that time. At first I didn’t like Patrick Wilson as Dan because I didn’t feel like Dan was that, well, for lack of a better term, dorky. But then when I saw him transformed as he eased right back into his role of Nite Owl, I really, really appreciated this actor above all the others. However, I really wasn’t a fan of Malin Akerman playing Laurie, although I will admit that as Laurie was my favorite character in the book (close second in Dan though, then followed by Rorschach), I had really high expectations for this actor. Although I can’t quite put my finger on it, something about Matthew Goode as Ozymandias kind of irked me, but I guess given that character’s role in the plot, perhaps that was as it should be. Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian is great about being the jerk he should be, and that one scene where he cries to his mortal enemy, realizing that man is the closest thing he has to a friend, while also simultaneously laughing that life’s a joke is an amazing piece of work. All the other characters are played just fine, but nothing worth writing home about.

As I’ve already mentioned several times that this was a movie based on a book and that I loved the book, I think it’s worth pointing out some differences between the story in the two mediums.

- Things that specifically stand out to me from the book that didn’t make it into the movie (some of these are small details but I noticed their absence):

1) Dan telling Laurie that everything that is happening in the world makes him feel so impotent. I specifically remember this one because it felt like an overstated metaphor as it comes on the heels of Dan not being able to sexually perform. It was one of the few moments in the book when I felt Moore was a little heavy-handed.

2) Hollis also being found dead at one point, I think further fueling Rorschach’s belief that someone is out to kill costumed heroes. When I was looking up some stuff about the movie online to write this post, I found someone posted on YouTube a deleted scene that shows Hollis Mason’s death and Dan’s reaction to it. While these scenes were pretty brutal, I’m glad to see that at least I remembered correctly. It’s also funny to see that this person comments at the end that if the director was going to make cuts, maybe the long sex scene should have been one of them. (See my comments on that below).

3) Rorschach being caught and the police mocking him because he wears lifts in his shoes to make him seem taller.

4) Rorschach telling the psychiatrist in prison about how he got his mask and the real-life story of Kitty Genovese being a motivator for him becoming a vigilante. I also feel like he talks more about his mother, perhaps about her death, at this point.

5) I remember that when Jon is on Mars thinking about his life and noting how all time is happening for him at the same moment - past, present, future all jumbled together - he remarks about it’s such-and-such date and Janey is leaving him, followed by a line about it’s so-and-so date and Laurie is walking out on him. I remember thinking what a hauntingly sad juxtaposition that was.

6) I feel like in the book Jon takes Laurie with him to Mars to have their whole confrontation sooner, like right after Laurie first moves in with Dan, not after their adventure rescuing people again. I was pretty sure that Laurie went to Antarctica with Dan and Rorschach, not meeting them there later. Maybe it’s a feature of the different ending (see below), but I thought there was more time where they were all sitting around knowing that Ozymandias’s plan was going to happen and not being able to do anything about it, but it hadn’t actually happened yet. In fact, I seem to recall that in their desperation and fear, Laurie and Dan end up randomly having sex (again) somewhere in Ozymandias’s house.

Speaking of Dan, Laurie, and sex, I find it funny that with all that has to be cut, the director decided to leave in a particularly long sex scene with the two of them. It’s certainly not unjustifiable given these characters and their actions in the book, but when you limit the explanation of the Keene Act – a huge deal in the Watchmen universe – to a few brief wordless flashes in the opening credits, maybe you should think about reducing the length of the sex scene instead?

Oh, and Laurie’s costume in the movie is much more ridiculous and objectifying than how she was depicted in the book – and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Check out this great critical article (which includes pictures of the two different costumes) on how Zack Snyder sexually fetishes Laurie in the film I was actually thinking along these lines in the scene when Laurie and Dan first decide to go out adventuring in their costumes again - Dan is downstairs working on Archie when Laurie comes down the stairs in her sexed-up costume and the camera takes a long pan on her walk down the stairs. Hey, Dan isn’t bad looking either and the Nite Owl suit really buffs him up but we don’t get any similar visual for him – and he’s the one that really misses being in the suit and rescuing people. Indeed, his costume is tied to his identity and his sexual potency, so maybe Snyder should really have put the focus on him in that scene instead.

7) Missing are of course the great, ground-breaking, and unique inter-comic text from the book (i.e., Hollis Mason’s autobiography, newspaper clippings, etc.). Obviously this would never work in a filmic fashion but I still miss it. At least Rorschach (via his journal) and Jon still get to narrate some parts.

- Things that happened in the movie that I can’t recall if they actually happened in the book (anyone with a copy of the book handy want to help me out?):

1) Laurie and Dan being attacked in a dark alley by hoodlums (and defeating them) on the way to see Hollis Mason.

2) Rorschach being harassed and threatened in prison by the inmates because he put so many of them there. Specifically, I do not recall him being responsible for a man’s arms being sawn off, which was a particularly gruesome scene. (And for the record, while I am not a medical professional, I highly doubt that if a man’s arms were sawn off, he would immediately fall to the ground dead. I think he would bleed out over time. Look at how many war veteran amputees are out there; obviously instant death isn’t the result of loss of limb. There could possibly be the implication that he merely passed out from the pain and shock, but Rorschach’s “1-0, 2-0” remarks makes it seem like we’re meant to believe that inmate has died.)

I’m of two opinions about this whole Rorshach-is-such-a-badass-even-a-prison-full-of-inmates-out-to-get-him-doesn’t-frighten-him idea. Part of me thinks it’s in line with his character. With the other costumed heroes, we can see how they managed to hang the costume up after the Keene Act and live arguably normal lives to some degree. Rorschach was the only one who could never do this, refusing to ever give up the costume or the vigilantism. (It’s worth pointing out that while the movie doesn’t explicitly say so like the book does, we can kind of tell even here that the costumed heroes all know each other’s identities except that no one knows who Rorschach really is.) We see in these scenes how he is Rorschach, even when you remove the mask. He has so embodied this being that nothing stops him from exacting his form of justice.

But that brings me to my second opinion about these scenes. Rorschach, as we clearly learn from the story about the man who kidnapped a little girl and what Rorschach did to him in return,* doesn’t seem like the kind of vigilante who would let criminals live to see prison. However, he did spend his time in the early Watchmen days as Dan’s partner, and Dan isn’t the kind of guy to ruthlessly exact his own brand of justice, so perhaps it is believable after all.

3) *Another case in point of differences between the book and the movie is that in the movie, Rorschach splits this guy’s skull open in another gruesome scene; in the book, I think Rorschach burned him alive or left him handcuffed for the dogs to eat as “an eye for an eye” punishment. I don’t remember the axe to the head in the book and I think that would have stood out to me more.

4) Speaking of the prison and the attendant gruesome murder scene there, I do not recall either the mass panic at the prison or Laurie and Dan coming to bust Rorschach out of jail in the book. However, I do recall that Rorschach goes to prison and then that later he goes to Antarctica to confront Ozymandias with the others, so he must have gotten out of prison somehow and I can’t remember how else he does.

5) Obviously, the ending is different in the movie but I had been forewarned about that. I think that Jon-is-the-weapon-of-mass-destruction rather than the giant-alien-squid-thing-is-the-weapon-of-mass-destruction change works just fine, although I do feel like it does shake things up a bit. For instance, how did the Comedian find out about this plot? I felt like the ending with Ozymandias’s plans and motivations was rushed over too quickly.

6) Also, at the very end with Dan, Laurie, and her mother, the movie does not acknowledge that costumed heroes are still a no-no in this alternate reality and that Laurie and Dan have to hide their identities as they do in the book’s ending.

There's probably more differences between the book and the movie than the ones I listed here, but it's been several years since I read the book last so I don't remember them all. These are just the ones that particularly stood out to me. In the end, the movie made me nostalgic for the book and I want to read it again now.

I could talk about Watchmen – the book especially but even the movie – forever, but I’ve tripled the amount I wrote about this movie compared to the other three and this post has gone on long enough so I better stop here.

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